So close. These guys all found their way on to somebody’s Top Twenty list, but didn’t receive enough votes from the Leafs Nation staff in order to get their own special profile in our upcoming countdown. It’s not all bad news, however… As these guys received at least some recognition, they are now ineligible to rank anywhere in next month’s TLN Worst Leafs Prospect special.
Verhaeghe narrowly missed out on a Top 20 spot, likely because we’ve seen so very little of him. Drafted in the 3rd round of this past June’s draft, Verhaeghe scored 18 goals and 26 assists in 67 games with the Niagara Ice Dogs this past year.
Out of all the players receiving honourable mentions, Verhaeghe has the best chance of shooting up the prospect depth chart. His offensive numbers aren’t anything to write home about, but with Niagara losing a whole bunch of pro-eligible talent this coming season, Verhaeghe will be leaned on to put up big numbers. Expect a breakout much like Josh Leivo’s post-draft season.
For more info on Carter Verhaeghe, check out the player profile we put together shortly after he was drafted.
Another player who showed up on several lists but couldn’t crack the Top Twenty, Ryan had a successful year with the AHL Marlies, in that he played 59 games despite a crowded roster and a lockout. During that stretch, Ryan chipped in 9 goals and added 12 assists while playing primarily in a bottom six role.
With an ECHL and AHL campaign under his belt, Ryan will need to establish himself as true prospect in his third professional season. There’s still a potential NHLer in Ryan, but likely as a 3rd or 4th liner with a long road ahead.
You can’t help but wonder where Ryan Rupert would rank on this list if he was just two inches taller. The 5’9, 190lb centre scoring 11 goals and 46 points in 54 games last season, his third with the London Knights.
Rupert took part in the Hockey Canada’s World Juniors Summer Development Camp earlier this month, and will in all likelihood suit up for the Memorial Cup-hosting Knights once again. Needless to say, it’s a big year for Rupert, who could very well work his way into the Top 20 conversation by Christmas.
A former Los Angeles Kings draft pick, Gibson went unsigned until his rights were lost and Toronto swooped in – a second Kings goaltender to join the organization this summer! Gibson had a great draft year in 2011, then posted two subpar seasons, finishing last season with a 3.08 GAA and a .902 SV%.
It will be interesting to see how the Leafs handle Gibson, as he’s ineligible to play Junior and will have some competition at the AHL level. While Garret Sparks by all means appears to be the more advanced prospect, Gibson may win the backup role with the Marlies if the Leafs want Sparks getting plenty of ice time in Guelph or Orlando.
Goaltender Antoine Bibeau and forwards Fabrice Herzog and Andrew Crescenzi also received at least one vote, making them ineligible to compete in our upcoming ‘TLN’s Worst Leafs Prospect’ feature. A big congratulations to them!
Come back tomorrow to find out who’s #20 on our TLN Top Twenty Leafs Prospects list…